War on Trafficking in America? Are we wasting money? Consider emancipation!

If young women in America, especially under 18 years of age, are subject to abuse, violence, being raped, being forced to do things against their will and even work as prostitutes, I think we should do everything in our power to stop that.  I do!

But, if so, are we too late?  And, I ask you, why call it trafficking?  Where did that word come from?  Why do we need a new word?  And, by creating this new issue called trafficking, are we giving ourselves an excuse to neglect all the traditional issues that, frankly, we have been neglecting for years!

That is exactly what I think we over look regarding trafficking in America.  Maybe we should forget this trafficking baloney all together and get busy with some of these things we have been neglecting.

What about more family counseling, more alcohol and drug abuse counseling, and better sex education?  Do we just ignore the problems of families under great pressure due to the loss of jobs, the loss homes, health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, and so many other issue that are exasperated in today’s economy?

What about this: more alternatives for young adults to legally leave an abusive home environment, AKA emancipation?

Escaped home at 14!

Escaped home at 14!

Let’s talk about emancipation.  If a young person – boy or girl – thinks they are better off leaving their abusive home and trying to make it on the street – even if by being part of the lowest level of street prostitution – why can’t we offer challenging, better alternatives instead?  With emancipation!

As I recall Angelina Jolie followed a non-traditional, artistic path before the age of 18.  The internet tells me she left home at age 14 – yes, 14 – and lived with a punk rocker till age 16.  Outrageous!  But I think she is a great person – probably then and certainly now.  Of course she had assets and resources most young women from difficult homes don’t have, but that is where we can help.

Bob Hoskins, a British actor who recently died, also left home at the age of 15 and worked as a truck driver and circus performer.  There are many more examples.

When we attack trafficking of young America girls and boys, it is already too late.  But if we seek creative ways to help 14, 15, 16, and 17 year olds with better ways to leave dysfunctional homes, it is not too late.  Trafficking goes away

Truck driver at 15.

Truck driver at 15.

with that kind of intervention?  Can foster homes be different, maybe more open, so abused young adults will want that choice instead of joining a pimp?  If so, how can we do it?

So, there!  I already gave you an idea that might be worthy of more consideration.

Domestic abuse gets short changed when trafficking is in the spot light.  Let’s change that!

Way back in September, 2007 a major Washington Post report said this, “In the United States, activists say that trafficking has received far more attention than crimes such as domestic violence, of which there are hundreds of thousands of documented victims every year.”  You can link to and read the entire article HERE. There has never been another article about trafficking in America as important as this one.  A person cannot claim to know trafficking without reading this.

Money for trafficking victims – wasted !  

That article said:  “Steve Wagner, who helped HHS distribute millions of dollars in grants to communities to find and assist (trafficking) victims, said, “Those funds were wasted.””  So, are we still wasting money on trafficking that should be better put to use in other more pressing issues?

In tight economic times would you rather your money be spent wisely or spent on a faux-issue created by extreme and sensational media?  Trafficking is a media driven issue and nothing more.  But it is potentially dangerous in many ways.  We will muse more about extreme media later.

But for now consider that wasting money on trafficking that is needed in attacking problems that are at the root of trafficking is just one of many ways the distorted issue of trafficking is harmful to us all.  And I suggest it is possible to take a big chunk out of America’s teenage trafficking problems by doing more about dysfunctional families before teens are driven into the welcoming arms of traffickers and pimps.

Reference:  Human Trafficking Evokes Outrage, Little Evidence, U.S. Estimates Thousands of Victims, But Efforts to Find Them Fall Short, Washington Post, September 23, 2007, by Jerry Markon.

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